Can I enjoy the KYOSHO MINI-Z even if I don’t relate it to full-size cars?

16th MINI-Z Cup 2018 Final Championship (report)

MINI-Z racers who have qualified through regional events have earned the right to contest for the title of Japan’s No.1! For everyone who enjoys driving the MINI-Z, this is the ultimate goal.

Simply participating in the race brings an honor itself. There are two racers who have competed in all 16 MINI-Z Cup events. We discuss the MINI-Z experience with one of these racers, Mr. Toshikazu Karube.

Interview : Mr. Toshikazu Karube2001-2008 HONDA R&D Co., Ltd. HONDA Phase 3 F1 Electrical system Development2009-2018 HONDA R&D Co., Ltd. Production Car Body Electrical Component DevelopmentPresent HONDA Engineering Co., Ltd. Production Car Body Technology Development

Mr. Karube works on the product development team at Honda Engineering.

In 2002, Honda F1 Phase 3 is still remembered for Takuma Sato’s debut as the 7th fulltime Japanese F1 driver. At that time, Mr. Karube was at the forefront of Honda F1 engineering.

It is acknowledged that components developed by Mr. Karube were incorporated into the Jordan EJ12 driven by Takuma Sato.

At the 1st MINI-Z Cup Final Championship, the EJ12 entry in the F1 class has been carefully retained for public and private memories.

After listening to that, one cannot be wonder about the link between F1 racers and R/C car versions. Its possible that there is some unique crossover between the two…However, Mr. Karube’s answer to this question is very clear.

“In the sense that they both run on four wheels and the design concept is basically the same, the laws of physics governs the movement of the car body with oversteer, understeer, roll, pitching, yaw and so on. The only difference is size.

Although I don’t feel like applying my work knowledge to the MINI-Z, I’ve actually felt an even stronger sense of enjoyment from R/C cars since I was young. I don’t view the MINI-Z design through the eyes of an engineer, but more through the eyes of an R/C enthusiast. Looking at the Plazma Fantom that I used to drive years ago and the current MINI-Z, I can see that the MINI-Z is a highly evolved model.

Even though I like cars and I work as an engineer in automotive design, the two are not necessarily linked. From Monday to Friday I focus on my job designing full-size cars, then on Saturday and Sunday I drive the MINI-Z for the pure enjoyment. Sorry if this is not the answer you hoped for.

Mr. Karube first entered the MINI-Z Cup in 2003 at the Amlux Toyota event. That event was remembered for its great race venue and the MINI-Z racers, but what does Mr. Karube remember most?

“I wanted to enter the MINI-Z Cup because it was held in the middle of Ikebukuro at Amlux Toyota”.

“If an R/C racing event is held at such a cool place, I definitely want to go! That was the trigger for me. After that, I continued going to MEGA WEB in Odaiba, LaLaport in Funabashi and then Queens Square in Minato Mirai, Yokohama. Of course this year’s Final Championship is at Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery. I love racing at these great venues”!

The other thing I remember from the first MINI-Z Cup was that everyone was new and racing together for the first time.

Before I started driving the MINI-Z, I had some experience and quite a few friends with electric and engine-powered cars, but the MINI-Z was a totally different world.

I was surprised to discover so many people had been enjoying R/C cars at places I didn’t even know about.

It has been about 16 years since I first entered the MINI-Z Cup. “If I just focussed on my work and stayed local on my weekends, I would never experience anything like this”. Now Mr. Karube has friends from all over Japan.

“Having friends from around the country is like a reward for my continued participation in the MINI-Z Cup”.

It would be great if I can make more friends from overseas in the future. MINI-Z Cup is for me, all Japan trip?

To be honest, I never went to Hokkaido or Kumamoto until I had to enter the MINI-Z Cup. It was fantastic to visit these places for the first time.

These are all nice memories. It may not always be the case, but I would like to request that the MINI-Z Cup be held at completely new venues and districts in the future.

If I may say, exotic venues and locations get people’s attention and its great to go on a trip! How about the Hokuriku region and the new Shinkansen? I look forward to the announcement”.